"The segment largely portrays Israel’s 75th anniversary as a celebration but without mentioning that it is also a day marking upheaval and tragedy for the Palestinian people. Indeed, this year also marks the 75th anniversary of the Nakba (Arabic for catastrophe), when Zionist forces forcibly expelled at least 700,000 Palestinians from their homes during the creation of Israel (1947-49). "
Gareth Madoc-Jones, News Reporter, City News
Diona Macalinga, News Reporter, City News
Dear Mr. Madoc-Jones and Ms. Macalinga
I’m writing to you on behalf of Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME, https://www.cjpme.org) to ask for an update to the news segment, “Montrealers celebrate Israel turning 75” which aired on City of Montreal (CJNT) - Cityline on April 27, 2023.
The segment largely portrays Israel’s 75th anniversary as a celebration but without mentioning that it is also a day marking upheaval and tragedy for the Palestinian people. Indeed, this year also marks the 75th anniversary of the Nakba (Arabic for catastrophe), when Zionist forces forcibly expelled at least 700,000 Palestinians from their homes during the creation of Israel (1947-49). Refugees’ land and property were expropriated, more than 500 villages were destroyed, and millions of refugees continue to be banned from ever returning to their homes. The Nakba is an essential pillar of the story of Israel’s creation and must be included in all reporting on Israeli “Independence Day.”
Moreover, there is a growing consensus within the human rights sector that Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians constitutes apartheid, which is a crime against humanity under international law. This is a view held by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, UN experts, and Israeli and Palestinian human rights groups like B’Tselem. These findings from the human rights sector are essential for making sense of the character and qualities of the Israeli state today, particularly in terms of Israel’s claims to be a democracy. Professionally credible reporting should mention these reports in every conversations surrounding Israel’s Independence .
Israel’s consul general in Montreal Paul Hirschson, presents Israel as a beleaguered country which has faced waves of violence and displacements, but fails to capture the extent to which Israel has been the aggressor power in the region. In particular, he does not mention that Israel has been a belligerent occupying power over the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967 (the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza), as well as the occupied Syrian Golan Heights. He also fails to describe Israel’s systemic use of disproportionate violence against civilians, whether in its lethal response to Palestinian demonstrators, its repeated invasions of Lebanon, or its bombing campaigns against civilian infrastructure in Gaza.
I ask that you please update your news segment to include these important perspectives. Should you wish, you can contact me at 438-380-5410 for more information.
Policy Analyst, Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East
 Amnesty International, “Israel’s Apartheid against Palestinians: Cruel system of domination and crime against humanity,” February 1, 2022, https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/mde15/5141/2022/en/; Human Rights Watch, “A Threshold Crossed: Israeli Authorities and the Crimes of Apartheid and persecution,” April 27, 2021, https://www.hrw.org/report/2021/04/27/threshold-crossed/israeli-authorities-and-crimes-apartheid- and-persecution; B’Tselem, “A regime of Jewish supremacy from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea: This is apartheid,” January 12, 2021, https://www.btselem.org/publications/fulltext/202101_this_is_apartheid; United Nations Human Rights Office, “Israel’s 55-year occupation of Palestinian Territory is apartheid – UN human rights expert,” March 25, 2022, https://www.ohchr.org/en/press-releases/2022/03/israels-55-year-occupation-palestinian-territory-apartheid-un-human-rights